Yukon School Board encourages action on teacher pay

The Yukon Board of Education has joined dozens of other school boards across the state encouraging state lawmakers to develop a solution to Oklahoma’s financial problems.

In a special meeting Wednesday, the board voted 4-0 to endorse a resolution asking the Legislature to develop a funding source to provide an increase in teacher pay to a competitive salary level with surrounding states.

Board member Jeff Behymer was absent from the meeting.

State teachers have said they will walk out of their classrooms on April 2 if a solution has not been agreed upon by April 1.

The resolution approved Wednesday by the school board reads:

Whereas the board of education’s sole mission is the proper education of those students enrolled in the Yukon School District;

Whereas Oklahoma leads the nation in the deepest cuts to public education per student since 2008;

Whereas Oklahoma’s teacher pay is the lowest in the nation;

Whereas the education of our children should be the highest priority of the Legislature and the Governor;

Whereas the lack of funding, lack of an increase in teacher pay, and lack of action by the Legislature has now reached a crisis level in Oklahoma;

Whereas surrounding states are luring Oklahoma teachers to work in their schools with much higher salaries, causing all Oklahoma schools to increasingly resort to the hiring of emergency certified teachers and long-term substitutes, neither of which are in the best interest of the students of the Yukon School District;

Be it hereby resolved that the Yukon Board of Education strongly supports a salary increase for its teachers to a competitive salary level with surrounding states, strongly supports increased funding for all public school districts in Oklahoma, and strongly encourages the Oklahoma Legislature and the Governor to find a dedicated revenue source to fund both.

Yukon has about 600 certified teachers, including 21 teachers who received emergency certification.

Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said it was important for the board to show its support for teachers.

“We wanted make sure that everybody, the public the school, had a formal declaration from our school board that we are absolutely 100 percent behind them,” he said.

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